An Autism College and High School Integration for Educational and Vocational Excellence

This project focuses on supporting college bound students with high functioning autism as they transition to higher education. PDE/BSE is providing the support of Dr. Jane Thierfeld Brown, Director of College Autism Spectrum, a recognized expert in college support. As part of PDE/BSE’s commitment to the project Dr. Thierfeld Brown and the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) staff will work with high schools and colleges to create a successful framework for college access and supporting successful degree completion.

Dr. Jane Thierfeld Brown

Jane Thierfeld Brown is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Child Study, Yale Medical School, Director of College Autism Spectrum and former Director of Student Services at the University of Connecticut School of Law. She has worked in Disability Services for 37 years. She holds an Ed.D from Columbia University, Teachers College. Dr. Brown consults with many families, students, school districts and institutions of higher education. Dr. Brown has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS News and NPR. She has co-authored, “Student with Asperger’s: A Guide for College Professionals,” (2009) “The Parent’s Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum,” (2012) and “Behavior Management and Self-Regulation,” (2012) along with many textbook chapters and articles. Dr. Brown is married and has three children, the youngest being a 24-year-old son with Autism.

(College Autism Spectrum)

PDE/BSE PASSHE Partnership
PDE/BSE has partnered with the Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Autism Support Initiative for Success program to create seamless transition planning and programming to support success as students enter into college, and stay in college through degree completion and employment. Employment reports have identified a number of technology companies as one of several fields committed to hiring neuro diverse young adults into the company, but they lack the required college degree. Research shows that the majority of students with high functioning autism who are accepted into college drop out within their first year due to lack of social and independent living skills. The following link provides information on an example of a private company’s initiative of an autism program in the workplace:

One company’s autism initiative

The PASSHE program, currently across four sites (Edinboro University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown University and West Chester University) is working to develop services required to address the needs of neuro diverse students. These services address areas of communication, problem solving, self-advocacy, initiation, daily living skills, time management and executive functioning skills.


Transition Planning Resources

For more information contact Kristin Starosta, (800-441-3215 ×7237 or 610-878-7237)